Showing posts with label Cracker Barrel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cracker Barrel. Show all posts

Oct 15, 2011

cracker barrel (MoFo 28)

The ol' country store. While driving on any highway, you cannot drive more than 30 miles without one of these crossing your billboard radar - they are everywhere! Cracker Barrel has only (and I mean that in comparison to the other mega-stores like McDonald's) 600 some-odd stores to its name, but they are ubiquitous on the road.

The original concept was created to pull people off the road to buy, not food or country junk, but gasoline. Dan Evans thought folks would pull over to eat and shop and, before heading back on the trails, fill up. Good call; that's just what they did. Nowadays there are no more gas stations in front of Cracker Barrel, but there are plenty of rocking chairs!

The Southern-comfort food of the Barrel is pretty off-putting to their vegetarian (do they have any?) clients since most everything has some part of an animal cooked in it. When I worked there about 16 years ago, the apples were the only thing (I think) that was clear to eat, but then perhaps even that had lard. Hard to tell. You know how the mind blocks out unhappy memories.

Hashbrown Casserole was a super popular menu item and their Chicken Casserole was also way up there. The Hashbrown Casserole is country hashbrowns with loads of cheese. The Chicken Casserole has cream of chicken soup with chicken and is topped with crumbled cornbread. I made a baked chicken-style tofu for this dish.

There is something highly annoying about a restaurant where even their vegetables have meat in it. The Barrel's Country Green Beans are cooked with bacon. Great. Grrr. 

I distinctly remember the Barrel making their green beans in the southern-style.. cooked until almost grey in color. To get this dish to be as close to the original as possible, I used frozen green beans (you can be more authentic and use canned green beans or more healthful and use fresh green beans. Oh! the choices.). Surprisingly good. Don't ask me why or how. Cook up a batch and try them. They make a great accompaniment to the Chicken Casserole.

Country Green Beans and Hashbrown Casserole

Chicken-y Setian Casserole


Apr 28, 2011

cracker barrel's - chicken'n dumplins

Cracker Barrel is the place that dots America's highway landscape, featuring tons of rocking chairs on their front porch...and practically nothing that a vegan can eat on their menu - even their vegetables sided are cooked with meat.

I worked at Cracker Barrel for about a whole week in the early 90's. The place was nothing to write home about - my parents lived a thousand miles away - and so probably never knew about my forage into the land of the Country Store. After all, what more could you want after filling up on Hashbrown Casserole and some Homemade Fried Chicken Livers than to mosey on out to the Country Store to pick you up some Kenny Rogers CD and some Black Licorice Bites. So good.

How do we go from rocking chairs to Chicken n' Dumplins? Kate asked for it. Not necessarily Cracker Barrel's version, but you need to mix up your repertoire of recipes once in a while.

Cracker Barrel's dumplings are a little different from mine. I mix the batter into a loose consistency and drop them onto the simmering broth. They end up light and fluffy. Cracker Barrel's is a rolled dough that is cut into small (1/2 inch) rectangles and then dropped into the broth. They are stirred while they cook. Theirs is more of a European dumpling rather than the American-Bisquik-mix-dumpling.

While Cracker Barrel does have a great Chicken n' Dumplin recipe, I prefer my chicken with less chicken , so I used  Tender Seitan. Also, we like more vegetables in our dish - C.B. has little - like carrots, celery and onion. So, by all means, make this dish since it is very tasty, but feel free to add some veggies into the mix.

Cost Breakdown

dough: $1
seitan: $3
broth: $1
spices: $.25
onion, garlic: $.75
Total to make 5 servings:

VEG-Aside: My heart goes out to the victims of the tornadoes that ripped across the South recently. However, my heart is not limited to the human victims, but extends to the victims of the factory farms who were just as hurt by the storms themselves, but more directly, by their confinement.

 While the people were caught in homes of their own, the thousands of chickens that are still trapped by homes not of their own making is different. When you are trapped, not just during the tornadoes, but afterwards, bound by man-made-walls, where food, but more importantly, lack of water, is concerned, life and death seem closer than the suffering that is all too close.

The government is actively seeking to help the human victims of this crisis, but the victims hidden by our labels of 'food' are ignored and not even acknowledged as the living, feeling beings that  they are ... currently without food and water. Right now. Without water. Try that - no water for two days...three days...five days...a week....

Little we can do about the current conditions right now; but, right now we can ...
Let the truth be know...Leaflet for the Future.